the haircut

Yesterday my son got his hair cut for the first time
in more than three years. Well, that’s not quite true.

He’s had it “trimmed” several times. And cut very badly once.
But that was only an inch or two. This time, he had it shaved off

the sides and cut short on top almost like the young George McFly
but much cooler, I think, which I guess means it’s not cool at all

because I’m almost 43 and he’s 14. A pile of hair
on the floor of the salon. How many inches?

6? 8? Seems like a foot.
That’s how much he’s grown since he’s had short hair.

At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it. His head seemed tiny
untethered from the mop that made him a twin to Cousin It. But

when we got home and he turned and looked back at me,
standing there in the sun on our deck, I saw

my 4 or 6 or 8 year old son but with a man’s face.
Warm flashes of forgotten moments came rushing back.

Such a beautiful feeling! But the boy had only returned
to become acquainted with an older self.

A deeper-voiced version that looks the same, but not quite.
And who doesn’t act the same at all, except for sharing a similar caring disposition

and unflappable spirit that had grown harder to notice
in-between the loud fake burps and screeches and all that hair.

That thick, long, unruly hair covering his face like a mask or a shield.
Gone. No hair to hide behind. Now, a face. Such a beautiful face!

I try not to stare but it’s hard not to look and marvel
at what I’m witnessing: time passing.

Then he notices me and stares back, flaring his eyes and
sticking out his tongue. A boy again, but not for long.